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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Oil Speculators Use Iraq as Excuse to Drive Up Prices - Sanders' Bill Would Invoke Regulators' Emergency Powers

WASHINGTON, June 19 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today accused oil companies and Wall Street speculators of using unrest in Iraq as a phony excuse to artificially drive up crude oil and gasoline prices.

The price of oil today rose above $115 a barrel – a new nine-month high on the New York Mercantile Exchange – ostensibly because of concerns that sectarian violence in Iraq could cut off the country's exports. The price of regular gasoline rose to $3.67 a gallon today, up a nickel in the past month. That was despite the fact that today there is more supply and less demand for gasoline than five years ago, when the average price of a gallon of gas was just $2.67 a gallon.

“I am getting tired of big oil companies telling us that gasoline prices are going up because of the turmoil in Iraq. The truth is that big oil will never miss an opportunity to increase the price of gas. Today, it’s Iraq. Tomorrow, it may be the weather. On and on it goes,” said Sanders, a member of the Senate energy committee. “The fact is that high gasoline prices have less to do with supply and demand and more to do with Wall Street speculators driving prices up in the energy futures market.”

Sanders said he will introduce legislation to force the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the federal agency that regulates oil markets, to use its emergency authority to eliminate excessive oil speculation. Sanders’ proposal is virtually identical to bipartisan legislation that overwhelmingly passed the House in 2008 by a vote of 402-19.

“Millions of Americans are hurting as a result of excessive speculation on the oil futures market,” Sanders said. “The time to provide the American people relief at the gas pump is now before this situation gets even worse.”

He cited a growing consensus that excessive speculation on oil is significantly contributing to the high pump prices for gasoline. Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs, the International Monetary Fund, the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the American Trucking Association, Delta Airlines, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, the New England Fuel Institute, the Consumer Federation of America and others have blamed excessive oil speculation has significantly increases oil and gas prices. Goldman Sachs, perhaps the largest speculator on Wall Street, has acknowledged that excessive oil speculation costs Americans at least 56 cents a gallon at the pump.

Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141


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Iraq was such a good war, with so much accomplished. It's great that we are heading back for more. I was waiting for Obama to fulfill his campaign promise to get us back into Iraq. (Or was it to get us out? Seems so long ago…).

It's especially great that we had such advanced intelligence on all this. Thank God the NSA is listening to everything and preventing these situations.

I hope we spend a bunch of money we don't have in a place far away on problems we can't solve.

It would be especially nice if we attacked from the safety of a building in Florida, using flying robots, rather than battle any of our adversaries face to face. Sending a drone to do killing for you shows no weakness or cowardness, and will likely lead to everyone over there reconsidering and supporting our intervention. Our drone will be greeted as a liberator!

Luckily we have our long-term friend and ally, Iran, there to help us. We've always been friendly with them.


Nice to see a reponse

I've been reading about Teddy Roosevelt, who would leap into action whenever he spotted an injustice or saw evidence of some wrongdoing in need of righting. Bernie Sanders is the closest thing we have to a T.R. right now. It's nice to have someone notice this stuff and actually try to do something about it.


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